COOBER PEDY News & Events


Coober Pedy's Mayor Steve Baines informs residents of their right to be heard on skyrocketed electricity prices in the outback

The District Council of Coober Pedy and the Coober Pedy Retail Business and Tourism Association are vehemently opposed to the new South Australian Government electricity tarriff increases and are doing everything possible to have the decision to increase tariffs reversed.

On the 18th February 2011, Council was notified that the electricity tariffs set by the State Government were to rise.

After digesting the new tariff structure and undertaking a comparison of some of our commercial consumers it became most apparent that commercial tariffs would rise up to 120%.

Unfortunately domestic electricity consumers will experience a tariff increase of around 20%.

I want to stress to the residents of Coober Pedy that Council does not set the tariffs for electricity. 

The Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (DTEI) through Energy Division sets the tariffs.

This tariff increase will mean that the cost of goods and services in the 13 remote off- grid communities, of which Coober Pedy is the largest, will skyrocket to the point where they will find themselves uncompetitive.

The effect on tourism will be disastrous and will result in job losses.

The town water desalination plant is one of the largest consumers of electricity in Coober Pedy. 

To supply water to the town, the additional cost will be in the vicinity of $185,000.  Council will have no option but to increase the cost of water to cover this additional expense.

Letters have been sent to Minister Michael O’Brien (Energy), Minister Jack Snelling (Treasurer), Premier Mike Rann and Lyn Breuer MP, Member for Giles, outlining our concerns and demonstrating the disastrous effects that these increases will have on our community.

We also need your help to let these politicians know your anger over these increases and the effects that they will have on your families.

Please call the following:

*  Local Member Lyn Breuer Ph:  86457800
*  Premier Mike Rann Ph:  82580480
*  Minister for Energy Michael O’Brien Ph: 82877388


Steve Baines, Mayor

9 replies »

  1. When I heard Michael O’Brien seeming to only just discover people were living in Coober Pedy a few days ago, his comments came as surprise.
    Mr O’Brien acused them of choosing to live in Coober Pedy and (unjustifiably) enjoying their lifestyle! UH?

    Has it been illegal to live there?

    I would hope they do find some pleasures there, seeing as it’s so bloody hot and so bloody far from civilisation.
    We have taxi’s, trains, trams, buses, bicycle tracks, beaches, boat facilities, fishing access, not to mention the infrastructure to go with it, fully maintained by the same government. You name it and we’ve got it. They virtually pay us to vote.

    If we ever admitted we enjoyed the city lifestyle, Mr. O’Brien might throw a wobbly and excise our entire suburb out of the state. He might even have us charged higher taxes than the suburb next door.

    In my opinion the excuses for the excessive tax was justified by Mr O’Brien as a party room rehearsed set of cliches. The connotation that city dwellers pay for only a few thousand people to live in “luxury surrounding” in the outback is laughable.

    Is Mr. O’Brien saying that people in the remote areas don’t pay tax?

    The state government is once again discriminating against isolated outback communites.

  2. @ Jeffrey Dunsmore.. See your point. Quotes from M. O’Brien courtesy ABC. Comments are typical of someone using a scape goat. Surely he knew there were humans living in Coober Pedy before now. Much deeper govern-mental problems embedded here. RW.

    Michael O’Brien says, “There is an element of personal choice in all of this. Some people have made a decision that they’re going to set up businesses in Coober Pedy or they’re going to live in Coober Pedy and there are costs associated,” he said.

    “The State Government is subsidising their decision to operate businesses to the tune of $5.5 million a year.

    “When all said and done, if there wasn’t a subsidy they would be having to find an additional $5.5 million. The taxpayers of South Australia are effectively underwriting the cost of running their businesses.”

  3. Michael O’Brien lost credibility for his government by saying, “Some people have made a decision that they’re going to set up businesses in Coober Pedy or they’re going to live in Coober Pedy and there are costs associated,” he said. “The State Government is subsidising their decision to operate businesses.”

    The public are not as gullible as one may delude himself to believe.

    Why has Coober Pedy had a Post Office since the 1920s Mr O’Brien? Please reply
    Why does the District Council of Coober Pedy and the State Government join with the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination to support an RDA presence in Coober Pedy which in turn solicits business ideas from locals in order to assist new businesses start up in Coober Pedy? Please reply

    This information here is for Mr O’Brien’s benefit – just in case he’s not aware of the RDA’s ‘leavening’ activities in outback towns (that ‘seem’ to good to be true). Coober Pedy did not invent the NRDB or the RDA.

    Regional Development Australia Far North (RDAFN) which is an Incorporated Association funded through a Five Year Resource Agreement with the South Australian Government and the Local Government bodies in northern South Australia.

    In December 2006, the Commonwealth through the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination joined the State and Local Government bodies in supporting the Board along with the indigenous communities of Nepabunna, Davenport and Umoona (Coober Pedy).

    The RDAFN provides economic development services to the communities of northern South Australia. These services include providing:
    •Business advice and support to all businesses across the region including assisting individuals seeking to start a new business
    •Assistance with training and employment programs to generate new and sustainable jobs
    •Help to local communities seeking to develop new infrastructure to support economic activity such as interpretive centres, arts centres and drilling programs
    •Support for clusters of businesses to assist business networking

    The area we cover, commonly referred to as the Flinders Ranges and Outback, comprises around 80% of the state’s land area. The region supports a population of 32,000, the largest community being Port Augusta…… The region incorporates …. Flinders Ranges and the Outback….We have offices dotted around the region at Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Roxby Downs and Quorn. If visiting these locations is inconvenient, we will make arrangements to visit you.

    Who was it that penned the apt article “The art of lying, and selling tax increases”?

  4. Watching the prompt decline of the Opal Industry from 2006 onwards is evidence that this government is playing Russian Roulette with the Australian Opal Industry and people livelihoods by introducing a hypocritical electricity tax. Why should we sacrifice our historic towns, homes and careers for their pipe-dream of fat profits?

    The government is ruthlessly harvesting constituents, destroying stable communities to further it’s resource agenda, claiming jobs are it’s ultimate goal when state profits at ANY cost are the ultimate goal as it exploits, people, land, water and minerals in the new name of “viability”.

    We are not blind to the government’s own financial mis-management and spending problems. Why should the Opal Industry, it’s businesses, and families in the “secluded” outback be cowardly targetted with fake taxes to help compensate and conceal the South Australian Government’s overspending on the public service sector amongst their other reckless and risky, chess-board ventures?

    The Opal Industry will be the ultimate sacrifice as the resource sector slides in along side it, according to world trends and will vanish into the abyss.

  5. We are an opal family with small children and a small business in Coober Pedy. While we are on the small side, the new electricity prices and the water prices will make our business unworkable, moreso in the times of quiet trade. According to Minister O’brien we are at fault for being in this town but my husband was born here and his parents came here from another country and were never told they shouldnt be here. The ministers voice was shaking when he said those reasons for the electricity rises to the press. How can we trust this goverment now? We thought only sick bullys preyd on children and defensless women who wont be heard. Thanks for letting me have a voice.

    Because we have children we have no-where to turn and our life will be destroyed. We cant afford to move and we can;t afford to stay if the prices go up that much.

  6. Coober Pedy is the latest victim of political sleight of hand, sleight of actions & tongue. We endure the same downputting smear campaigns designed to curb public opinion so they will turn their eyes away, even from the plight of children & elderly living with not only NO water but contaminated water.
    The government well know that hitting businesses in the pocket will destabalise a whole community. ‘Across the outback’, to coin a well-known phrase, all towns are being rendered unviable in a clever plan of snatching & grabing infrastructure assets which the government have no rights to take for nothing unless we voluntarily abandon it. Get my drift? Coober Pedy hasn’t seen anything yet & the new elecricity charges are just the beginning. They will keep squeezing the businesses & families with children till everyone gives up. These bureaucrats are coming at us from every angle to get control of anything we have developed, even our very homes. There was no caution given to us when some of us spent our life savings a few years ago to settle in the outback & are getting the same blame for doing what has been entirely legal. Lets face it, the government are landing bigger fish now & are getting impatient. Dont hold your breath waiting for Lynne Brewer to do anything meaningful because it gets down to labor votes coming out of your town. Politicians are paid to deliver an outcome. The government has now made a huge problem for Coober Pedy so watch & wait because they’ll soon send their friendly bureaucrats in to help you find a ‘way forward’ from the unfortunate ditch you’ve dug for yourself by chosing to build ‘valuable infrastructure’ in a convenient location.

  7. Wasn’t it only a couple of years ago 2008/9 we were promised a solar panel field for Coober Pedy to help reduce the cardon emissions? to be partly funded by the government? and then told it was NOT a financially viable project? And now the government has decided to charge us a carbon tax and increase our electricity tarif. Obviously this is the best senario they could come up with?

    So instead of trying to reduce the carbon footprint they have decided to just make everything more expensive!

  8. It’s good to see the communities fighting back or else we get trampled by a government who can’t manage it’s affairs properly. To get themselves out of the poo they have to bleed us who theyve distanced themselves from for none other than personal voting gain. I congratulate Mayor Steve Baines for taking on the boys club down in the Adelaide cattle yards – the only place the pollies can visualise.

  9. The government will be happy when we all leave here. The Opal industry is dying. How many tourists come here to see how we all live? Hmmmm maybe its whats below the Opal levels that interests the S.A. Govt. more than us. Pirsa should be able to tell us. Leave us alone; we will fight; the people are sick of this going on all over Australia.
    The fight has just begun.

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